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Top Tips for Virtual Interviews during Lockdown

Top Tips for Virtual Interviews during Lockdown

We are currently living through unpredictable times, a 3rd lockdown within 12 months means that we are once again creating a “new normal” both in our personal lives and within our working lives. The implementation of social distancing, tiers and working from home has meant that many offices have gone unused, many colleagues have not seen each other in person and many cars have done very few miles over the last couple of months.

One thing that has not changed is the need for recruitment within businesses, implementing the “new normal” for this has been key to finding successful new employees. The following tips should assist you to help position yourselves for success within a virtual interview and recruitment process.

1)     Preparation

Preparation is key! Every interview is an opportunity, an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to develop and an opportunity to be successful. To give yourself the best opportunity you need to showcase your knowledge and skills of the role to the employer but most of all you need to showcase your research on the company, your personality, and your potential for the company. When recruiting a business will look at an individual to understand how they can add value to the organisation in both the short and long term.

When starting the interview, find an icebreaker that will enrich a conversation and may allow you to dig further into the company, this may be something you have read on the company’s social media or website, but it also may be something closer to how the business has coped with COVID 19.

Interviewers will expect you to speak with confidence and have clear examples of the contents of your CV and covering letter. They will be looking for links you may be able to find with the contents of your CV, the job description and details you may have sourced from their social media or website. They will be keen to find out about your motivations and any value adding pieces you have implemented in your current role. Ensure you can identify the key values of the business, their USP and link your experience and interests to this.

2)     Presentability

Dress for success! Working from the comforts of your own home has had its benefits over the last few months, loungewear retailers have seen a large growth in their sales, and it is not unusual to see your colleagues in more casual clothes over video calls. However, this is an interview, and you are judged from the moment you log into your video call. Smart work clothes need to be brought back out of the wardrobe, you should dress as if you are going to a face-to-face interview within an office environment. This will not only make you look more presentable to the interviewers, but it will also make you feel more professional.

First impressions are as key within a virtual interview as they are face to face. When preparing for your interview think about the environment surrounding you. What is your background? Try to sit in a room with a plain background and good light, remember you can always blur your background if you have objects behind you that could cause a distraction to you or the interviewer. What is on your desk? Try to have a clear desk policy, if you want your CV and a notebook in front of you make sure this is on clean white paper and stay away from a novelty notebooks or pens. What can the camera see? Try to clear the space around you, have a look around the area the camera can see prior to your interview to ensure it is clear and professional. What are you drinking from? When in a face-to-face interview they would present you with a drink, have a think about the glass or mug you are using, try to make this as clear or plain as you can rather than using the novelty mug you got for secret Santa.

Animals and children can be cute, however within an interview setting these can be a big distraction for both yourself and the interviewers. Ensure that you have someone or something to distract them within a different room of the house.

3)     Practice

Practice, Practice, Practice! They always say that practice makes perfect and, in this case, the more information you have collected about the company and the more time you have spent relearning your CV the more successful your interview will be. Interviews via Zoom or Teams allow you to feel comfortable in your home environment and hopefully have the information you need in front of you. If you are working with a recruitment agency, they should be able to advise the format of the interview, what type of questions you should expect and who you are meeting with. Take a look at examples of these and look at the background of the interviewers.

4)     Test

Test, Test, Test! With most people working from home for the past few months, many now understand the workings of Zoom and Microsoft Teams however, one thing to remember is you will more than likely be using a different computer and a different email to set up the meeting. Prior to the interview enable yourself enough time to check the visual, the audio and the internet connection on the computer you are using. Ensure you have accepted the meeting and understand the workings of the software, whether this be Zoom or Microsoft teams, familiarise yourself with the layout of the video conference software, find the mute and video buttons. Some individuals may find they are more relaxed if they do a practice run to ensure they are not flustered on the day.

5)     Are you ready?

Remember the same golden rules apply to virtual interviews as they do to a face-to-face interview.

-         Accept the invitation for the interview as early as you can.

-         Arrive early to the interview – Zoom and Teams both have waiting rooms.

-         Dress for success – Put the loungewear away.

-         Eye Contact – Look at the camera not yourself.

-         Do your research.

-         Ask questions.

-         Most importantly be yourself and enjoy this opportunity!

If you need any assistance with your search for a new exciting opportunity or have any questions in relation to interview preparation please feel free to get in touch with one of the team at Emmerson Kitney and EK Financial Recruitment.

The team and I look forward to speaking with you!



EK Financial Recruitment - (01482) 975960

Emmerson Kitney - (01482) 638808

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